Archive for the ‘Beekeeping’ Category

Although this is a gardening blog, I feel compelled to share news from the East Coast which was so badly hit by Hurricane Sandy. By now we have some idea of the scope of the damage wrought by Sandy, but it ‘s safe to say that it is much, much worse than anyone imagined it would be. And in some parts of New York I think that we have only an inkling of the devastation. I have relatives – a daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Brooklyn, a parent and siblings in Connecticut and on Block Island – who, most fortunately, survived with no damage. But my daughter’s extended family lost homes in Breezy Point and she has had reports of VERY scary situations in the Rockaways in Queens.

The Rockaways was one of the worst hit by the hurricane. From reliable reports we have heard in the past couple of days it sounds truly post-apocalyptic with survivors, still without enough food and water, burning furniture to stay warm. Help, as of yesterday, was spotty at best. The relief effort has not ramped up there and most of the effort has been by Good Samaritans who’ve brought in supplies on their own.

The mainstream media has not reported this story and I think that we will all be truly appalled when we finally find out how bad it is. Hopefully, today will bring better news to residents of the Rockaways who are desperate and feeling as if the world has forgotten them.

It’s frustrating being on the other side of the country, wanting to help and not being able to. The best I can do to is to get the word out and encourage you to donate (as I did) to the one organization, Occupy Sandy, that is actually in the Rockaways trying to relieve the suffering. They are mounting an impressive relief effort and could use more help. Donate money or time (if you live nearby). Click here to find out more.

There are many stories that remain to be told about farmers, beekeepers and gardeners who have lost it all in the hurricane and I will be posting some of their stories here, but for now let’s focus on getting help to people (and their pets) who lack the most basic needs – food and shelter.

UPDATE: A great organization, 596acres.org, has posted a very specific list of ways to help if you live anywhere near the Rockaways. Click here for details.


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Saturday: The bees are coming today! To get ready for their arrival, I’m preparing their sugar syrup and making a homemade version of Honey B Healthy, a nourishing supplement that is added to the syrup.

I’ll be teaching my co-workers how to be beekeepers and they’ll be installing the bees on Sunday with my guidance. Ray built us some beautiful Top Bar Hives (Thanks, Ray!) which will be their new home. We are very excited!

We have, over the last couple of weeks in our (very little) spare time, been creating a bee and butterfly sanctuary. It’s in its beginning stages and will soon be filled with plants that all the local pollinators will want to come and visit. We are also adding a labyrinth that will be planted with medicinal herbs and a vegetable garden filled with heirloom vegetables. The hives will be nestled in this wonderful little spot we’ve created located in the Animas River Valley.  It’s coming together beautifully and I’ll be posting pictures of the hives and gardens soon.

Happy Spring everybody!

Recipe found on the Beekeepers of the Ozarks:

Honey B Healthy (generic)

  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 1/2 lbs of sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon lecithin granules (used as an emulsifier)
  • 15 drops spearmint oil
  • 15 drops lemongrass oil.
  • 6 drops of thyme oil (optional)

Dissolve lecithin in 1/4 cup of water. This may take several hours. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. Stir in lecithin until dissolved. Stir in essential oils until everything is evenly distributed. Cool before using.

I use 1 tablespoon per quart but I don’t use thyme in my mixture. One to two tablespoons per gallon works if using thyme oil.

Makes about 2 quarts.

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